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Prague is the capital and largest city of the Czech Republic. It is the 14th largest city in the European Union. It is also the historical capital of Bohemia. Situated in the north-west of the country on the Vltava River, the city is home to about 1.26 million people, while its larger urban zone is estimated to have a population of nearly 2 million. The city has a temperate climate, with warm summers and chilly winters. Prague has the lowest unemployment rate in the European Union.
Prague has been a political, cultural, and economic centre of central Europe with waxing and waning fortunes during its 1,100-year existence. Founded during the Romanesque and flourishing by the Gothic, Renaissanceand Baroque eras, Prague was not only the capital of the Czech state, but also the seat of two Holy Roman Emperorsand thus also the capital of the Holy Roman Empire. It was an important city to the Habsburg Monarchy and itsAustro-Hungarian Empire and after World War I became the capital of Czechoslovakia. The city played major roles in the Bohemian and Protestant Reformation, the Thirty Years' War, and in 20th-century history, during both World Wars and the post-war Communist era.
Prague is home to a number of famous cultural attractions, many of which survived the violence and destruction of 20th-century Europe. Main attractions include the Prague Castle, the Charles Bridge,Old Town Square with the Prague astronomical clock, the Jewish Quarter, Petřín hill and Vyšehrad. Since 1992, the extensive historic centre of Prague has been included in the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites.
The city boasts more than ten major museums, along with numerous theatres, galleries, cinemas, and other historical exhibits. An extensive modern public transportation system connects the city. Also, it is home to a wide range of public and private schools, including Charles University in Prague, the oldest university in Central Europe. Prague is classified as an "Alpha-" global city according to GaWC studies, comparable to Vienna, Seoul and Washington, D.C. Its rich history makes it a popular tourist destination, and the city receives more than 6.4 million international visitors annually, as of 2014. Prague is the fifth most visited European city after London, Paris, Istanbul and Rome. Prague's low cost of living makes it a popular destination for expats relocating to Europe.
|POPULATION :||City: 1,259,079 / Metro: 2,156,097|
|FOUNDED :||c. 885|
|TIME ZONE :||CET (UTC+1) Summer: CEST (UTC+2)|
|LANGUAGE :||Czech 83.0%, Slovak 2%, other 15.0%|
|RELIGION :||Roman Catholic 26.8%, Protestant 2.1%, other 3.3%, unspecified 68.7%,|
|AREA :||496 km2 (192 sq mi)|
|ELEVATION :||177 m (581 ft) - 399 m (1,309 ft)|
|COORDINATES :||50°5′N 14°25′E|
|SEX RATIO :||• Male: 49.22% |
• Female: 50.78%
|ETHNIC :||Czech 83.0%, Slovak 2%, Others (Ukraine, Russia, Vietnam) 15.0%|
|AREA CODE :||+420|
|POSTAL CODE :||100 00 – 199 00|
|DIALING CODE :|
This city of bridges, cathedrals, gold-tipped towers and church domes, has been mirrored in the surface of the swan-filled Vltava River for more than ten centuries. Almost undamaged by World War II, Prague's compact medieval centre remains a wonderful mixture of cobbled lanes, walled courtyards, cathedrals and countless church spires all in the shadow of her majestic 9th century castle that looks eastward as the sun sets behind her. Prague is also a modern and vibrant city full of energy, music, cultural art, fine dining and special events catering to the independent traveller's thirst for adventure.
It is regarded by many as one of Europe's most charming and beautiful cities
The city is home to a number of famous cultural attractions, many of which survived the violence and destruction of 20th-century Europe. Main attractions include the Prague Castle, the Charles Bridge, Old Town Square with the Prague astronomical clock, the Jewish Quarter, Petřín hill and Vyšehrad. Since 1992, the extensive historic centre of Prague has been included in the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites.
The city boasts more than ten major museums, along with numerous theatres, galleries, cinemas, and other historical exhibits.
Its rich history makes it a popular tourist destination, and the city receives more than 4.4 million international visitors annually.
Almost one-half of the national income from tourism is spent in Prague. The city offers approximately 73,000 beds in accommodation facilities, most of which were built after 1990, including almost 51,000 beds in hotels and boarding houses.
From the late 1990s to late 2000s, the city was a popular filming location for international productions such as Hollywood and Bollywood motion pictures. A combination of architecture, low costs and the existing motion picture infrastructure have proven attractive to international film production companies.
During the thousand years of its existence, the city grew from a settlement stretching from Prague Castle in the north to the fort of Vyšehrad in the south, becoming the multicultural capital of a modern European state, the Czech Republic, a member state of the European Union.
The area on which Prague was founded was settled as early as the Paleolithic age. According to the Jewish historian and chronicler David Solomon Ganz (1541–1613), author of a book published in Hebrew, entitledTzemach Dovid, the city was founded by an ancient king, Boyya (Boiia), in c. 1306 BC. He gave his name to the city that lay around the place where Prague now stands, calling it Boiinhaem. The historical territory of Bohemia (Latin: Boihaemum), located within the western portion of the Czech Republic, and the neighboring Bavaria (Bayern) also took their names from this ancient king, Boyya (Boiia).
Around 200 BC the Celts (Boii) established an oppidum (settlement) in the south of present Prague, now called Závist. By the end of the 1st century BC, the population in Bohemia was composed mostly of the Germanic tribes (Marcomanni, Quadi,Lombards and possibly the Suebi). During the reign of Augustus Caesar (27 BC – 14 AD), the city's name was Maroboden, after a ruler at that time whose name was Maroboduus, who was a contemporary of Augustus. Around the area where modern-day Prague stands, the map of Ptolemaios (2nd century) mentioned a Germanic city called Casurgis.
In the late 5th century AD, during the great migration period following the collapse of the Western Roman Empire, the Germanic tribes moved westwards and, in the 6th century, the Slavic tribes settled Central Europe. By the 9th century, the city was called Praha (Prague), by which name it is still called today.
According to legends, Prague was founded in the 8th century by the Czech duchess and prophetess Libuše and her husband, Přemysl, founder of the Přemyslid dynasty. Legend says that Libuše came out on a rocky cliff high above the Vltava and prophesied: "I see a great city whose glory will touch the stars." On the site she ordered to build a castle and a town called Prague.
By the year 800 there was a simple fort fortified with wooden buildings, occupying about two-thirds of the area that is now Prague Castle. The first masonry under Prague Castle dates from the year 885.
The other Prague fort, the Přemyslid fort Vyšehrad was founded in the 10th century, some 70 years later than Prague Castle. Prague Castle is dominated by the cathedral, which was founded in 1344, but completed in the 20th century.
The region became the seat of the dukes, and later kings of Bohemia. Under Roman Emperor Otto II the area became a bishopric in 973. Until Prague was elevated to archbishopric in 1344, it was under the jurisdiction of the Archbishopric of Mainz.
Prague was an important seat for trading where merchants from all of Europe settled, including many Jews, as recalled in 965 by the Hispano-Jewish merchant and traveller Ibrahim ibn Ya'qub. The Old New Synagogue of 1270 still stands. Prague contained an important slave market.
At the site of the ford in the Vltava river, King Vladislaus I had the first bridge built in 1170, the Judith Bridge (Juditin most), named in honour of his wife Judith of Thuringia. This bridge was destroyed by a flood in 1342. Some of the original foundation stones of that bridge remain.
In 1257, under King Ottokar II, Malá Strana ("Lesser Quarter") was founded in Prague on the site of an older village in what would become the Hradčany(Prague Castle) area. This was the district of the German people, who had the right to administer the law autonomously, pursuant to Magdeburg rights. The new district was on the bank opposite of the Staré Město ("Old Town"), which had borough status and was bordered by a line of walls and fortifications.
The era of Charles IV
Prague flourished during the 14th-century reign (1346–1378) of Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor and the king of Bohemia of the new Luxembourg dynasty. As King of Bohemia and Holy Roman Emperor, he transformed Prague into an imperial capital and it was at that time the third-largest city in Europe (after Rome and Constantinople).
He ordered the building of the New Town (Nové Město) adjacent to the Old Town and laid out the design himself. The Charles Bridge, replacing the Judith Bridge destroyed in the flood just prior to his reign, was erected to connect the east bank districts to the Malá Strana and castle area. On 9 July 1357 at 5:31 am, Charles IV personally laid the first foundation stone for the Charles Bridge. The exact time of laying the first foundation stone is known because the palindromic number 135797531 was carved into the Old Town bridge tower having been chosen by the royal astrologists and numerologists as the best time for starting the bridge construction. In 1347, he founded Charles University, which remains the oldest university in Central Europe.
He began construction of the Gothic Saint Vitus Cathedral, within the largest of the Prague Castle courtyards, on the site of the Romanesque rotunda there. Prague was elevated to an archbishopric in 1344, the year the cathedral was begun.
The city had a mint and was a centre of trade for German and Italian bankers and merchants. The social order, however, became more turbulent due to the rising power of the craftsmen's guilds (themselves often torn by internal fights), and the increasing number of poor people.
The Hunger Wall, a substantial fortification wall south of Malá Strana and the Castle area, was built during a famine in the 1360s. The work is reputed to have been ordered by Charles IV as a means of providing employment and food to the workers and their families.
Charles IV died in 1378. During the reign of his son, King Wenceslaus IV(1378–1419), a period of intense turmoil ensued. During Easter 1389, members of the Prague clergy announced that Jews had desecrated the host (Eucharistic wafer) and the clergy encouraged mobs to pillage, ransack and burn the Jewish quarter. Nearly the entire Jewish population of Prague (3,000 people) perished.
Jan Hus, a theologian and rector at the Charles University, preached in Prague. In 1402, he began giving sermons in the Bethlehem Chapel. Inspired by John Wycliffe, these sermons focused on what were seen as radical reforms of a corrupt Church. Having become too dangerous for the political and religious establishment, Hus was summoned to the Council of Constance, put on trial for heresy, and burned at the stake in Constanz in 1415.
Four years later Prague experienced its first defenestration, when the people rebelled under the command of the Prague priest Jan Želivský. Hus' death, coupled with Czech proto-nationalism and proto-Protestantism, had spurred the Hussite Wars. Peasant rebels, led by the general Jan Žižka, along with Hussite troops from Prague, defeated Emperor Sigismund, in the Battle of Vítkov Hill in 1420.
During the Hussite Wars when the City of Prague was attacked by "Crusader" and mercenary forces, the city militia fought bravely under the Prague Banner. This swallow-tailed banner is approximately 4 by 6 feet (1.2 by 1.8 metres), with a red field sprinkled with small white fleurs-de-lis, and a silver old Town Coat-of-Arms in the centre. The words "PÁN BŮH POMOC NAŠE" (The Lord is our Relief) appeared above the coat-of-arms, with a Hussite chalice centred on the top. Near the swallow-tails is a crescent shaped golden sun with rays protruding.
One of these banners was captured by Swedish troops in Battle of Prague (1648), when they captured the western bank of the Vltava river and were repulsed from the eastern bank, they placed it in the Royal Military Museum in Stockholm; although this flag still exists, it is in very poor condition. They also took the Codex Gigas and the Codex Argenteus. The earliest evidence indicates that a gonfalon with a municipal charge painted on it was used for Old Town as early as 1419. Since this city militia flag was in use before 1477 and during the Hussite Wars, it is the oldest still preserved municipal flag of Bohemia.
In the following two centuries, Prague strengthened its role as a merchant city. Many noteworthy Gothic buildings were erected and Vladislav Hall of the Prague Castle was added.
In 1526, the Bohemian estates elected Ferdinand I of the House of Habsburg. The fervent Catholicism of its members was to bring them into conflict in Bohemia, and then in Prague, where Protestant ideas were gaining popularity. These problems were not pre-eminent under Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II, elected King of Bohemia in 1576, who chose Prague as his home. He lived in the Prague Castle, where his court welcomed not only astrologers and magicians but also scientists, musicians, and artists. Rudolf was an art lover too, and Prague became the capital of European culture. This was a prosperous period for the city: famous people living there in that age include the astronomers Tycho Brahe and Johannes Kepler, the painter Arcimboldo, the alchemists Edward Kelley and John Dee, the poetess Elizabeth Jane Weston, and others.
In 1618, the famous second defenestration of Prague provoked the Thirty Years' War, a particularly harsh period for Prague and Bohemia. Ferdinand IIof Habsburg was deposed, and his place as King of Bohemia taken byFrederick V, Elector Palatine; however his army was crushed in the Battle of White Mountain (1620) not far from the city. Following this in 1621 was an execution of 27 Czech leaders (involved in the uprising) in Old Town Square and the exiling of many others. The city suffered subsequently during the war under Saxon (1631) and Battle of Prague (1648). Prague began a steady decline which reduced the population from the 60,000 it had had in the years before the war to 20,000. In the second half of the 17th century Prague's population began to grow again. Jews have been in Prague since the end of the 10th century and, by 1708, they accounted for about a quarter of Prague's population.
In 1689, a great fire devastated Prague, but this spurred a renovation and a rebuilding of the city. In 1713–14, a major outbreak of plague hit Prague one last time, killing 12,000 to 13,000 people.
The economic rise continued through the 18th century, and the city in 1771 had 80,000 inhabitants. Many of these were rich merchants and nobles who enriched the city with a host of palaces, churches and gardens full of art and music, creating a Baroque style renowned throughout the world.
After the Battle of Prague in 1757 Prussian bombardment destroyed more than one quarter of the city and heavily damaged St. Vitus Cathedral. However next month after the Battle of Kolín, Frederick II. lost and had to retreat from Bohemia.
In 1784, under Joseph II, the four municipalities of Malá Strana, Nové Město, Staré Město, and Hradčany were merged into a single entity. The Jewish district, called Josefov, was included only in 1850. The Industrial Revolutionhad a strong effect in Prague, as factories could take advantage of the coal mines and ironworks of the nearby region. A first suburb, Karlín, was created in 1817, and twenty years later the population exceeded 100,000.
The revolutions in Europe in 1848 also touched Prague, but they were fiercely suppressed. In the following years the Czech National Revival began its rise, until it gained the majority in the town council in 1861. Prague had a German-speaking majority in 1848, but by 1880 the number of German speakers had decreased to 14% (42,000), and by 1910 to 6.7% (37,000), due to a massive increase of the city's overall population caused by the influx of Czechs from the rest of Bohemia and Moravia and also due to return of social status importance of the Czech language.
First Czechoslovak Republic
World War I ended with the defeat of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the creation of Czechoslovakia. Prague was chosen as its capital and Prague Castle as the seat of president Tomáš Masaryk. At this time Prague was a true European capital with highly developed industry. By 1930, the population had risen to 850,000.
Second World War
Hitler ordered the German Army to enter Prague on 15 March 1939 and from Prague Castle proclaimed Bohemia and Moravia a German protectorate. For most of its history Prague had been a multi-ethnic city with important Czech, German and (mostly Czech- and/or German-speaking) Jewish populations. From 1939, when the country was occupied by Nazi Germany, and during the Second World War, most Jews were deported and killed by the Germans. In 1942, Prague was witness to the assassination of one of the most powerful men in Nazi Germany – Reinhard Heydrich – during Operation Anthropoid, accomplished by Czechoslovak national heroes Jozef Gabčík and Jan Kubiš. Hitler ordered bloody reprisals.
At the end of the war Prague suffered several bombing raids by the US Army Air Forces. 701 people were killed, over 1,000 people were injured and some of buildings, factories and historical landmarks were destroyed (Emmaus Monastery, Faust House, Vinohrady Synagogue). Many historic structures in Prague, however, escaped the destruction of the war and the damage was small compared to the total destruction of many other cities in that time. According to American pilots, it was the result of a navigational mistake.
On 5 May 1945, two days before Germany capitulated, an uprising against Germany occurred. Four days later the 3rd Shock Army of the Red Army liberated the city. The majority (about 50,000 people) of the German population of Prague either fled or were expelled by the Beneš decrees in the aftermath of the war.
Prague was a city in the territory of military and political control of the Soviet Union . The biggest Stalin Monument was unveiled on Letná hill in 1955 and destroyed in 1962. The 4th Czechoslovakian Writers' Congress held in the city in June 1967 took a strong position against the regime. On 31 October 1967 students demonstrated at Strahov. This spurred the new secretary of the Communist Party,Alexander Dubček, to proclaim a new deal in his city's and country's life, starting the short-lived season of the "socialism with a human face". It was the "Prague Spring", which aimed at the renovation of institutions in a democratic way. The other Warsaw Pact member countries, except Romania and Albania, reacted with the invasion of Czechoslovakia and the capital on 21 August 1968 by tanks, suppressing any attempt at reform. Jan Palach and Jan Zajíc committed suicide by self-immolation in January and February 1969 to protest against the "normalization" of the country.
Era after the Velvet Revolution
In 1989, after the riot police beat back a peaceful student demonstration, the Velvet Revolution crowded the streets of Prague, and the Czechoslovak capital benefited greatly from the new mood. In 1993, after the split of Czechoslovakia, Prague became the capital city of the new Czech Republic. From 1995 highrise buildings began to be built in Prague in large quantities. In the late 1990s Prague again became an important cultural centre of Europe and was notably influenced by globalisation. In 2000, in Prague took place IMF and World Bank summits. In 2002 Prague suffered from widespread floodsthat damaged buildings and its underground transport system. Prague launched a bid for the 2016 Summer Olympics, but failed to make the candidate city shortlist. Due to low political support, Prague's officials chose in June 2009 to cancel the city's planned bid for the 2020 Summer Olympics as well.
The city of Prague lies between oceanic climate and humid continental climate.
The winters are relatively cold with average temperatures at about freezing point, and with very little sunshine. Snow cover can be common between mid-November to late March.
There are also a few periods of mild temperatures in winter.
Summers usually bring plenty of sunshine and the average high temperature of 24 °C (75 °F). Nights can be quite cool even in summer, though.
Climate data for Prague
|Record high °C (°F)||17.4|
|Average high °C (°F)||1.3|
|Daily mean °C (°F)||−1.4|
|Average low °C (°F)||−4|
|Record low °C (°F)||−27.5|
|Source #1: Pogoda.ru.net|
|Source #2: NOAA|
Prague is situated on the Vltava river, at 50°05"N and 14°27"E. In the centre of the Bohemian Basin. Prague is approximately at the same latitude as Frankfurt, Paris, France and Vancouver.
Prague's economy accounts for 25% of the Czech Republic's GDP making it the highest performing regional economy of the country. According to the Eurostat, as of 2007, its GDP per capita in purchasing power standard is €42,800. Prague ranked the 5th best-performing European NUTS two-level region at 172 percent of the EU-27 average.
The city is the site of the European headquarters of many international companies.
Prague employs almost one fifth of the entire Czech workforce and its wages are significantly above average (~+25%). In December 2015, average salaries available in Prague reached 35,853 CZK. This represented an annual increase of 3.4% which was nevertheless lower than national increase of 3.9% both in nominal and real terms. (Inflation in Prague was 0.5% in December, compared with 0.1% nationally.) Since 1990, the city's economic structure has shifted from industrial to service-oriented. Industry is present in sectors such as pharmaceuticals, printing, food processing, manufacture of transport equipment, computer technology and electrical engineering. In the service sector, most significant are financial and commercial services, trade, restaurants, hospitality and public administration.Services account for around 80 percent of employment. There are 800,000 employees in Prague, including 120,000 commuters. The number of (legally registered) foreign residents in Prague has been increasing in spite of the country's economic downturn. As of March 2010, 148,035 foreign workers were reported to be living in the city making up about 18 percent of the workforce, up from 131,132 in 2008. Approximately one-fifth of all investment in the Czech Republic takes place in the city.
Almost one-half of the national income from tourism is spent in Prague. The city offers approximately 73,000 beds in accommodation facilities, most of which were built after 1990, including almost 51,000 beds in hotels and boarding houses.
From the late 1990s to late 2000s, the city was a popular filming location for international productions such as Hollywood and Bollywood motion pictures. A combination of architecture, low costs and the existing motion picture infrastructure have proven attractive to international film production companies.
The modern economy of Prague is largely service and export-based and, in a 2010 survey, the city was named the best city in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) for business.
In 2005, Prague was deemed among the three best cities in Central and Eastern Europe according to The Economist's livability rankings. The city was named as a top-tier nexus city for innovation across multiple sectors of the global innovation economy, placing 29th globally out of 289 cities, ahead of Brussels and Helsinki for innovation in 2010 in 2thinknow annual analysts Innovation Cities Index. The street Na příkopě in New Town is the most expensive in whole Central Europe.
In the Eurostat research, Prague ranked fifth among Europe's 271 regions in terms of gross domestic product per inhabitant, achieving 172 percent of the EU average. It ranked just above Paris and well above the Czech Republic as a whole, which achieved 80 percent of the EU average.
Prague is also the site of some of the most important offices and institutions of the Czech Republic.
- President of the Czech Republic
- The Government and both houses of Parliament
- Ministries and other national offices (Industrial Property Office, Czech Statistical Office, National Security Authority etc.)
- Czech National Bank
- Czech Television and other major broadcasters
- Radio Free Europe – Radio Liberty
- Galileo global navigation project
- Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic
Prague is using three different district systems. But for tourist Prague is now divided into areas 1 to 10.
Prague 1: Stare Mesto (Old Town) - The geographical center of Prague and the home of its best known tourist attractions; many buildings in Prague 1 date back to the 13th century. Charles Bridge (Karlov Most), Old Town Square (Stare Namesti), Wenceslas Square (Waclavske Namesti), the Jewish Quarter (Josefov) and many other popular tourist destinations can be found here.
Prague 2: Vinohrady - Located at the top of the hill just beyond the far end of Wenceslas Square, Vinohrady is named for the vineyards that were found here during the 19th century.
Prague 3: Zizkov- A favored Prague neighborhood among the students and young expats
Prague 4: A large, primarily working class Prague district
Prague 5: One of the largest Prague districts, the Smichov neighborhood, alongside the river and around the Metro station Andel, is an upscale neighborhood with newly renovated buildings, hotels and the large Novy Smichov shopping center.
Prague 6: Known for its many embassies and numerous houses and villas as well as being the district that is nearest to Prague airport, Prague 6 is the location of some of Prague's most exclusive neighborhoods.
Prague 7: Letna - Just across the river from Old Town, Letna is a quiet residential area popular among students, as well as those who want to be close to the center for a reasonable price.
Prague 8: Florenc - For the most part this is one of the outlying Prague districts, but the area around Metro Florenc, where the central bus station and the monolithic Hilton hotel are located, is just a ten minute walk from the Old Town.
Prague 9: Cerny Most - Located just beyond Prague 3, this large outlying area is best known for its numerous Communist era public housing developments as well as its large shopping center.
Prague 10: Vrsovice - A calm residential area just beyond Vinohrady. Young professionals, students, and families enjoy this Prague neighborhood for its authentic Czech shops, restaurants and pubs.
Confusingly, several incompatible district systems are used in Prague. Partially, different systems are from different historic periods, but at least three different systems are used today for different purposes. To make things even worse, a single district name can be used in all the systems, but with different meanings.
Prague is divided into ten numbered districts: Praha 1 through to Praha 10. If you encounter a higher district number, a different system is being used. For example, Praha 13 is part of the "old" Praha 5 district. The advantage of the "old" system of ten districts is that it is used on street signs and house numbers throughout the city, so you can always easily determine the "old" system district you are located in.
Praha 1 is the oldest part of the city, the original 'Town of Prague', and has by far the most attractions. Praha 2 also contains important historic areas. In this central area, the "old" district system (or any of the newer systems) is too crude to be practical, a finer division is needed. Traditional city "quarters" provide such a division. Their disadvantage is that they are somewhat incompatible with the modern district systems - although "quarters" are smaller than the "old" system districts, a single quarter can belong to two or even more districts. The advantage is that these central quarters are well known and widely used and identical with the homonymous cadastral areas shown on street and house number signs along the "old" district designation, allowing easy orientation.
Buildings in big cities in Czech Republic have two numbers, one blue and one red. The blue ones are the orientation numbers - it is the ordinal number of the building on its street. Historically these numbers always started from the end of the street which is closer to a river. As elsewhere in Europe, odd numbers belong on one side of the street and even numbers on the other. The red numbers are related to the house register of the entire quarter (for example, Staré Město), and thus usually correspond to the order the buildings in that district were constructed. Most people do not remember them; if somebody says e.g. the house is in Dlouha str. number 8, they will usually mean the blue number. Red numbers usually have 3 or more digits.
It is quite easy and cheap to buy a local SIM card with 3G access. Packages vary so check before purchasing.
Many hostels and hotels offer free internet on shared computers or over a wireless network, so ask before you shell out extra at one of Prague's many internet cafes.
Almost all McDonald's and KFC fast food restaurants offer unsecured, free WiFi networks to paying customers. Most other restaurants and cafes offers free WiFi as well, often without advertising - check for network with name of the establishment and ask the personnel for password.
- Club Net Cafe, Americká 39, Vinohrady, Prague 2 (Metro station Náměstí Míru on the A line). 10-24. Drinks and snacks sold 55 Kč/hour.
- Internet Cafe Interlogic, , e-mail:[email protected]. Budějovická 13, Praha 4. 10:00-22:00 daily. 12Mbit/second internet connections, couches and drinks. 1 Kč/min.
- Blue Mail, , e-mail: [email protected]. Konviktská 8, Praha 1, (Old Town). M-F 10:00-22:00, Sa Su 10:00-23:00. The first five minutes is free and an hour of access will set you back 81 Kč.
- Jazz Republic, , e-mail: [email protected]. 28 října 1, Prague 1 (Old Town). The nearest metro station is Můstek on the A and B lines. Everyday 15:00-0:00. Jazz Republic offers two MacBooks and internet access for free use by guests. Concerts start at 21:00, and the MacBooks are usually taken away by 20:00. Wi-Fi stays on until the place closes at around 1:00.
Prices in Prague
MARKET / SUPERMARKET
|Beer (domestic)||0.5 l||€0.56|
|Bottle of Wine||1 bottle||€4.50|
|Dinner (Low-range)||for 2||€15.00|
|Dinner (Mid-range)||for 2||€22.00|
|Dinner (High-range)||for 2||€30.00|
|Mac Meal or similar||1 meal||€4.70|
|Beer (Imported)||0.33 l||€1.50|
|Beer (domestic)||0.5 l||€1.20|
|Coctail drink||1 drink||€4.70|
|Men’s Haircut||1 haircut||€10.00|
|Mobile (prepaid)||1 min.||€0.13|
|Pack of Marlboro||1 pack||€3.35|
|Toilet paper||4 rolls||€1.25|
CLOTHES / SHOES
|Jeans (Levis 501 or similar)||1||€64.00|
|Dress summer (Zara, H&M)||1||€32.00|
|Sport shoes (Nike, Adidas)||1||€69.00|
|Local Transport||1 ticket||€0.90|
34 € per day
Estimated cost per 1 day including:
- meals in cheap restaurant
- public transport
- cheap hotel
110 € per day
Estimated cost per 1 day including:
- mid-range meals and drinks
Transportation - Get In
Václav Havel Airport Prague, (IATA: PRG), +420 220 111 111, +420 296661 111. Located 20 km (12 mi) northwest of the city centre, it generally takes about 30 minutes to reach the city centre by car. The airport is served by a number of airlines:
- Czech Airlines (ČSA) is the national carrier operating to many European and international destinations. It generally does not offer long-haul (intercontinental) flights, but as it is partially owned by Korean Air, it offers a code-shared direct connection to Seoul.
- Wizz Air is a low cost airline with a base in Prague operating to European destinations including London, and Tel Aviv.
- easyJet operates low cost services to European destinations.
- Jet2.com low cost services from Manchester, Newcastle, Leeds/Bradford & Edinburgh
- SmartWings to Europe, Turkey and Israel
- Swiss International flies to Zurich, Basel and Geneva.
- Aer Lingus from the Irish city of Dublin.
- Norwegian from Scandinavia.
- Delta Air Lines from New York.
- KLM Royal Dutch Airlines has 5 direct flights per day from Amsterdam.
- British Airways has 4 direct flights from London Heathrow daily.
- Brussels Airlines offers 3 flights a day to Brussels.
- Lufthansa offers 6 flights a day from Frankfurt and 4 from Munich.
- TAP offers daily direct flights from Lisbon and Oporto.
- Iberia offers 3 flights daily from Madrid.
- Germanwings offers daily flights from Cologne/Bonn.
Getting into the city from the airport
- Public buses offer connections to several metro stations, from which you can travel to the city center in a total travel time of 45 minutes. Public transport tickets, which are valid on the buses, metro, and trams can be bought from kiosks called Public Transport in the arrivals halls (07:00-21:00, credit cards accepted), the DPP kiosk in the arrivals area of Terminal 1, or the vending machine next to the bus stop outside the terminals. Tickets are available in time increments of 30 minutes (24 Kč), 90 minutes (32 Kč), 24-hours (110 Kč) or 3-days (310 Kč). You can also buy a 90-minute ticket from the bus driver, but it costs 40 Kč. You can transfer between the buses, metro, and tram for no additional charge as long as your ticket has not expired. Remember to validate your ticket as soon as you get on the bus by sticking it into a yellow machine with green glowing arrow, or you may be subject to a fine of 800 Kč if you are caught. Info on the schedules and routes can be obtained here. Buses that operate between the airport and the metro stations are as follows:
- Bus #100 to Zličín - Metro Line B (18 minute ride). Departures every 12-30 minutes from 5:41-23:36.
- Bus #119 to Nádraží Veleslavín - Metro Line A (17 minute ride). Departures every 5-20 minutes from 4:23-23:44.
- Bus #191 to Petřiny - Metro Line A (24 minute ride) and metro B Anděl (48 minute ride). Departures every 24-40 minutes from 4:57-23:11.
- Night Bus #510 going via Arbesovo náměstí (36 minute ride) and I. P. Pavlova (42 minute ride). Departures from the airport every 30 minutes from 23:57-3:57.
- Airport Express (bus operated by Czech Railways): These buses leave the airport every 30 minutes; the first one at 05:46 while the last one at 21:16 at a price of 60 Kč per person (or less, if bought as a part of railway ticket further into Czech Republic). Tickets are available from the driver. They will take you to the railway and metro station Dejvická and Masarykovo nádraží. The last stop will be Prague's main train station ("Hlavní nádraží" which is commonly abbreviated in Czech as "Praha hl.n."). From there the bus operates back to the airport. Schedule: at this page or here
- Cedaz bus: (but in fact the owner is AAA taxi) These buses operate from 07:30 to 19:00 every half hour. They will take you into the city centre to the "V Celnici" street. Fares are 150 Kč per person.
- By shuttle: Various companies run shuttle services to the hotel and back. They can be found at the airport arrival halls. They usually charge around 400 to 500 Kč for trip and in general are a bit cheaper than the taxis.
- By taxi: The most comfortable method to reach the city centre will cost around 650 to 850 Kč with AAA Taxi. They have an exclusive contract with Prague airport and taxis waiting outside. For a bargain, call one of their competitors listed in Get around Taxi section or Prague Airport Transfer, Book Taxi Prague or Prague Airport Shuttle, an expat owned and operated taxi service or shuttle to the nearest metro station Dejvicka.
- By private cars: Many companies offer private transfers for fixed prices - to the hotel, apartments, etc. and back. This service must be booked in advance because driver will be waiting directly to you. They usually charge around 500 to 600 Kč for trip and in general are a bit cheaper than the taxis. Chosen companies: myDriver Airport, ShuttleTransfer-Service.cz,Prague Airport Shuttle, Transfer Prague, 24-ATP.
- By rented cars: If you are planning on exploring the Czech Republic beyond the city of Prague, you may want to consider renting a car at the airport. Numerous rental companies have their desks at the airport (in the ground floor of Parking C) and allow pickup and return directly there.
Prague is well connected to European EC train network, however there is no Czech high speed rail and so the maximum train speed is 120–160 km/h (75-99 mph), but usually the average speed is much lower at about 70 km/h. While international and intercity services are generally reliable, assume delays of more than few minutes when using local trains.
- Berlin: 4½h, EC trains every 2 hours
The train line from Berlin to Prague passes through Saxon Switzerland, and for a couple of hours the passengers are treated to a series of beautiful alpine river valleys, surrounded by rocky escarpments and mountains.
- Nuremberg/Munich: 5h/6h, 2 regional expresses a day from each city
Trains from Nuremberg have connection from Munich in Schwandorf a vice versa. The trains are quite slow, so alternatively you can use non-stop bus Nuremberg–Prague operated by German Railways (3¾h, every 2 hours).
- Vienna: 4¾h, EC train roughly every 2 hours
- Bratislava: 4h, EC train every 2 hours; one night train Metropol
- Budapest: 7h, 5 EC trains a day; night train Metropol
- Warsaw: 8¼h, EC Praha; 11h, night train Šírava
- Krakow: 6h-6.5h, 2x daily LeoExpress (train connected with coach in Bohumin)
Direct night trains connect Prague also with Cologne, Frankfurt, Amsterdam,Copenhagen, Zürich, Basel, Krakow, Minsk, Moscow and Saint Petersburg.
All international trains arrive at Praha hlavní nádraží (the central station, abbreviated to Praha hl.n.) which has a connection with Metro Line C. The station has undergone a major refurbishment in 2010.
Beware of the taxi drivers operating from the (official-looking) taxi rank alongside Praha hl.n.; they will attempt to charge a fixed price of 1760 Kč for a trip within the city center zone, or more than this if you want to travel further.
The park in front of the main train station is a haunt for some of the city's undesirable elements and should be avoided after dark. If you do have to come through on foot, it's best to avoid coming through the park and approach from the Southeast along Washingtonova. As you get to the corner of the park there's a police station, so the likelihood of running into problems from this direction is minimalised.
The main bus station for international buses in Prague is Florenc, in Praha 8 (metro lines B and C). It is located east of the city centre. In June 2009 a new terminal building was opened.
The second largest bus station is Na Knížecí, located next to Vltava river at west bank, south of city center. It is connected to Anděl metro station (line B). It is used mostly by regional busses.
Other, less frequently used bus stations are at Nádraží Holešovice (metro C), Dejvická (A), Zličín (B) and Černý most (B).
Eurolines, Ecolines, Student Agency and Orange Ways connect Prague to major European cities. Since the liberalization of the German long-distance bus market almost all major operators offer routes to/from Prague. Deutsche Bahn offers an IC Bus from Strasbourg via Mannheim Heidelberg Nuremberg and Plzen as well as one from Munich, DeinBus drives from Munich via Regensburg and Plzen, Flixbus goes from Berlin (via Dresden) as well as Linz Munich and Regensburg to Prague. Postbus,Berlinlinienbus and onebus also serve Prague. Tickets for the German operators can all be bought online or paid in Euros at the bus (higher rates apply, only possible if there are still seats)
Student Agency operates daily bus service between many large Czech cities (including famous Cesky Krumlov) and Prague for prices between 100 to 300 Kč per adult (reservation needed ).
Budweis-shuttle operates daily bus service between České Budějovice,Cesky Krumlov and Prague (1.5 hours, 1000 Kč; disadvantageous for small groups)
Polski Bus has two connections daily to Warsaw, Poland via Wrocław and Łódź.
Prague has highway connections from five major directions. Unfortunately, the highway network in the Czech Republic is quite incomplete and some highways are old and in poor condition. Thus, the highway connection from Prague to the border of the Czech Republic is available only in two directions: southeast and southwest.
The southwestern highway (D5; international E50) leads through Plzeň to Germany. The D5 highway continues in Germany as A6. Riding from the state border to Prague takes about an hour and a half (160 km/99 mi).
The southeastern highway (D1) is the Czech Republic's oldest and most used highway but is in a rather poor condition. It leads through Brno to Bratislava in Slovakia. It offers a good connection to Vienna, Budapest and all traffic from the east. It runs for 250 km (155 mi), and usually takes over two hours.
To the northwest, you can take highway D8 (E55), but it is not complete to the German border. It ends now at Lovosice (about 60 km (37 mi) from Prague and starts again in Usti nad Labem and continues to the northern Germany via A17 (Dresden, Berlin, Leipzig).
To the northeast, you can take highway R10 (E65). It is strictly speaking a motorway, not a highway, but it has four lanes and differs little from a highway. It leads from Liberec to Turnov. It is not regarded as an important access route, as there are no major cities in this direction (Zittau in Germany, some cities in Poland), but it offers a good connection to the Czech mountains Jizerské hory and Krkonoše (Riesengebirge) with the best Czech skiing resorts.
To the east, you can take the newly completed D11 (E67), which goes to Hradec Kralove. It leads to Poland.
Czech highways are under development (D8 and D11 are being extended, D3 to České Budějovice and Linz is supposed to be completed in 2020) so things will get better. Unless there are road works, there are only seldom traffic jams on Czech highways, with the exception of D1 near Prague (and near Mirosovice (direction to České Budějovice and Linz, and Brno, too)).
Prague suffers from heavy traffic and on week days the main streets are one big traffic jam. Moreover, Prague doesn't have a complete highway outer ring yet. It is a really good idea to use the P+R (park and ride) parking places, where you can park your car for a very small fee and use public transport.
The P+Rs are situated near all highways and are well marked. Note that traffic wardens are rife and parking in most residential streets in and around Prague city centre (even after dark) without a valid permit will result in a parking fine. In particular, avoid blue-marked areas which are parking-restricted area if you don't want your car to get towed away within the hour.
Transportation - Get Around
Public transportation is very convenient in most of the areas visitors are likely to frequent. Public transport buses do not enter the historic districts (Old Town, New Town, Lower Town, etc.) to prevent air and noise pollution. One must transfer to a cleaner and quieter electric-powered tram or a metro before reaching historic areas.
Prague is renowned as a very "walkable" city. For those who enjoy seeing the old and new city by foot, one can easily walk from Wenceslas Square to the Old Town Square, or from the Old Town to Charles Bridge and the Castle District. However almost all of the streets are cobbled, rendering it very difficult for disabled or elderly travellers to get around effectively. Also, pedestrians should enter crosswalks carefully in Prague, as drivers are not as likely to yield as they are in other European cities.
Remember that in the Czech Republic, it is illegal to cross at a pedestrian crossing on a red man, and if caught this incurs a fine of 1000 Kč.
By Public transit
The public transit around Prague consists of three metro lines (green line A, yellow line B and red line C), over twenty tram lines (numbered using 1- or 2-digit numbers), buses (3-digit numbers), ferries, a few train lines (numbered S1 to S9), and one funicular, all using the same tickets.
The tram and bus schedules are posted on the stops, and the metro (its schedule is posted in station) operates from early in the morning (around 05:00) until approximately midnight. Buses (lines no. 100-299) and trams (lines no. 1-26) start earlier and end later to connect to metro. Between 11PM and 1AM, be aware that some trams carrying passengers take different routes to get to their garage. When travelling at night, always check schedules on-line beforehand, and you may even find a shorter route to your destination than normally available.
When planning a journey, if you know the names of your stops, you can use the official journey planner at [www], or a smartphone app (two good ones for Android are Pubtran, which is free of charge but uses your data plan to find connections, or CG transit, which allows you to download the timetables into your phone for a small charge and then use them offline).
If you don't know the name of your stop, you can plan your journey either using Google Maps or with the map at [www]. You can also look at several public transport maps at [www] and [www] , but be aware that at any given moment there are several lines closed for renovations, which is refflected by the online planners but may not always be included in the static maps.
Prague public transport is fast and efficient when you know how to use it. Sometimes you have to change a few times - the schedule website [www] is the best way to plan your trip. If you get lost, you can take any bus / tram, all lines pass through a metro station where you can orient yourself.
These tickets may be of interest to visitors (prices valid from July 2011):
- 24 Kč – full ticket: 30 minutes (transfers allowed), children get 50% discount
- 32 Kč – full ticket: 90 minutes (transfers allowed), children get 50% discount
- 110 Kč – 24-hour ticket, children get 50% discount
- 310 Kč – 3-day ticket (72 hours), you can take one child free of charge with you
Children under 15 years get the discount. Children under 10 years travel free of charge. (But must have an id card with age and photo if older than 6.)
As you can see, the 24-hour or 3-day tickets are not economical unless you plan to travel more than 4 times a day for 90 minutes (6 hours).
Tickets can be bought at various places:
- ticket machines - sell 24, 32, ,110 Kč tickets. Most ticket machines accept coins only (but return change). In some central locations such as the central train station, there are new touch-screen ticket machines that accept coins, 100 Kč and 200 Kč notes, Visa and MasterCard credit cards ("classic" as well as contactless cards) and their debit versions (Problems can occur with foreign debit cards).
- tobacco shops, convenience stores - usually 24 and 32 Kč tickets only
- Prague Public Transit offices - usually located at Metro stations (and the airport), sell all kinds of tickets
- bus (but not tram) drivers - sell the 32 Kč tickets for a higher price of 40 Kč
- all Czech Railways ticket offices - sell the 110 CZK tickets (validity is printed on the ticket, so ask them to set it to the date and time you need)
- EC/IC trains - sometimes the conductors of these trains offer the 110 Kč tickets for sale before arrival to Prague
- via SMS - service is available only for the Czech GSM operator customers
- using the SEJF app - available for iOS and Android. Customers can top up the app's wallet using a payment card, no Czech GSM number is needed. The ticket is only valid on trams, urban buses and in the Metro, not on S-Train services. The DPP website has no information whether SEJF tickets are valid in the funicular. However, this is likely, as the funicular is operated by the company that also operates urban buses, trams and the Metro.
Validate your ticket by slipping it into one of the yellow boxes in the tram, bus or ferry, as soon as you board. In the metro, on the S-trains and on the funicular, the validators are in stations instead of the vehicles. After having changed the tram/bus, there is no need to validate it again. Keep it until it expires.
Tickets are not checked upon boarding, but uniformed or plain-clothed ticket inspectors often make the rounds asking to see your ticket. One problem is false inspectors who most often ride the trams between "Malostranske Namesti" and Prague Castle - these deceivers can be detected by asking for the identity card and badge which should be possessed by every inspector. An unstamped ticket is invalid - it will be confiscated, and you will incur a 700 Kč fine. Even though "riding black" seems easy in Prague, you should invest in the cheap ticket for the simple reason that Prague's transportation works perfectly and it functions on the honor system – help it stay that way.
Some buses (number 300 to 499) and all S-trains go out of the city, so they work a little differently, because normal tickets are valid only within the city limits. You have to show your ticket to the bus driver or train conductor and possibly buy another ticket from them, if you plan to go out of the city. The most popular site reachable this way is the Karlštejn castle (train S7, leaving the main station every 30 minutes).
Public transport continues at night and it's fairly extensive [www]. Night trams or night buses (00:00 to 05:00; lines beginning with the number 5 and 6 for the bus going out of city) usually come every 30 minutes. Every 15 minutes during this time, trams leave the central exchange stop of Lazarská in the centre of Prague. All night trams go through this stop. You can easily change tram lines here if nowhere else. At all night exchange stops, trams and buses wait for the connecting tram/bus.
Do not underestimate how close to the footpath the trams will be when they reach the stop. It's safer to take a few steps back before the tram arrives, as wing mirrors could cause injury for taller people. In the Metro, you should stay behind the dashed safety line on the floor about half a meter from the edge of the platform. On an escalator, it is customary to stand on the right side and walk up on the left side. When you use public transport in Prague, keep in mind that it is good etiquette to let elderly people, pregnant women or disabled people sit down.
Try to avoid getting taxi on the street (public transportation is always the better option in Prague) and if you have to, try to negotiate the price in advance. If you take taxi on the street, you should know that maximum price designated by city council per kilometre is 28 Kč/km (approx €1,3). It's advisable to call one of the major Prague Taxi services:
- AAA Radiotaxi, +420 222 333 222 [www]. (20-24 CZK/km)
- City Taxi, +420 257 257 257 [www]. (24-28 CZK/km)
- Halo Taxi, +420 244 114 411 [www]. (24 CZK/km)
- Kurýr Taxi, +420 241 090 090 [www]. (20 CZK/km)
- Modrý anděl, +420 737 222 333 [www].(21-23 CZK/km)
- Prague Airport Transfers, +420 800 870 888 [www]
- Bohemia Prague Airport Transfers, +420 773 066 880 [www]
- Profi Taxi, +420 844 700 800 [www]. (26 CZK/km)
- Sedop, +420 841 666 333 [www]. (23 CZK/km)
- Speed Cars Praha, +420 224 234 234 [www]. (21 CZK/km)
- Taxi Praha, +420 222 111 000 [www]. (24 CZK/km)
- Taxi Premier, +420 777 092 045 [www]. (17 CZK/km)
Since 2014 mobile taxi apps have become widespread in Prague. The advantage of using a taxi app is that you always get a fair price, all payments are done by card, there's no need to call anyone, and you can get a taxi at any time in less than 10 minutes.
- Liftago, the local equivalent to Uber, with slightly cheaper prices. New clients get a 300 Kč bonus for signing up. App available for Android and iOS.
- Uber, the global taxi giant. If you already have an account from any other country, you can use it in Prague as well. App available for Android, iOS and Windows Phone.
Deceptive taxi drivers are another trap that can badly surprise a tourist. Mostly they charge more than they should. The municipal council has been trying to solve this problem since the Prague mayor dressed up as an Italian tourist and was repeatedly overcharged. The most frequent cases of cheating happen between the railway station or airport and hotel. If you must take a taxi, and cannot call one directly or call your hotel for a referral, the best way to find a reputable one may be to look for a hotel and ask them to call a taxi. (Most hotels in Prague have a "deal" with taxi services or they have their own "hotel taxi" which usually charges you 50% or more than the taxi companies listed above.)
Taxi drivers at the railway station may show you a printed card that details the "fixed fares" for travel within the city. This is completely false. Don't fall for it.
Always insist on having the taxi-meter turned on and ask for a printed receipt once you leave the taxi. The receipt should have the driver's name, address and tax identification number included. Even though you ask for a receipt the taxi-meter could be tampered with using the so-called "turbo", which will cause the taxi-meter price to go sky high.
If you decide to flag down a taxi on the street make sure you stop a car with the logo of one of the major companies. It's not a bullet proof solution, but at least you have some chance to get some satisfaction from the taxi dispatching company.
About two years ago, an information desk was set up on most taxi stands in the city, with orientation prices to most popular destinations from that stand. But there is a flaw in the local law, which actually allows some of the taxi companies renting the taxi stands (specifically around Old Town square) to charge VERY high prices (about 99 Kč/km). There is an ongoing lawsuit regarding this, however the practice still hasn't stopped. The most infamous company in this regard is a recently created AAA Taxi s.r.o. deliberately creating its name to resemble regulated and popular AAA Radiotaxi Praha, however AAA Taxi cabs charge up to four times more for a ride, they even do not provide services to Czech customers [www]. Visitors are advised to use the services of proved phone-order taxis, as they are even reports of robberies with street cruising taxis [www] .
If you don't speak Czech, then be prepared: There is about a 50% chance you will be cheated by the driver, if you hail a taxi in the city center. So be always on watch as that is a standard warning in any guide book about Prague.
If you are convinced you got overcharged by the taxi driver, mark the car ID numbers (license plate, taxi license number on the car door, driver name, etc.) and contact the company which the driver is working for (if any) or police. The problem is that you have to testify against the driver, which is kind of hard when you're on the other side of the world. Try to avoid suspicious taxis and when in doubt, walk away and catch another taxi.
Another alternative is to use some of the chauffeured services companies like Prague Airport Transfers s.r.o. or FEBA Trade Limousine Car Service or even cheaper but as reliable HFS s.r.o. - 123-Prague-Airport-Transfer.com, or Transfer-Prague.com.
Some hotels offer taxi services. Make sure to compare the price with other companies. Some hotel taxis are cheap but others are more than twice the price and the car is not always identified as being a taxi. (Most of hotels in Prague have "deal" with taxi services or they have own "hotel taxi" and usually charge you by 50% or more than companies written above)
You can travel down the famous Vltava River (Moldau, in German), which inspired writers and composers such as Smetana and Dvorak.
The Prague Steamboat Company offers sight seeing cruises and trips to the Prague Zoo or the Slapy River Dam.
There also few small passenger ferries across the river [www], integrated to the Prague's public transport tariff.
Or you can enjoy travel by boat in historic centre of Prague. Nice surroundings, which include Pražské Benátky, is very amazing to visit it. Try to travel with Pražské Benátky Company and enjoy historic cruises as well as way to visit Charles Bridge Museum (in Czech language - Muzeum Karlova Mostu).
It is now possible to rent a Segway in Prague. It is a fast and convenient way to get around in the city center. In Prague, a person on a Segway is considered a pedestrian, not a motorist, so Segways are only allowed on the sidewalk. Segway rental costs between €30 and €45 per hour.
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The streets around Old Town are full of gift shops geared towards tourists, selling Bohemian crystal, soccer shirts and other mass-produced memorabilia. The thoroughfare between Charles Bridge and Old Town Square is particularly bad, turning off into one of the laneways you can find exactly the same merchandise for half the price. If you are looking for some decent souvenirs, try to get off the beaten path. Street vendors can have some unexpected treasures and there are plenty in the Charles Bridge area. Prints of paintings and good quality photos are very popular, and a really good way to remember Prague. Don't bother buying overpriced furry hats and Matryoshka dolls, though, because they have nothing to do with Prague - they are Russian in origin, and their sellers are just trying to capitalize on unknowing tourists.
In December, the squares host Christmas Markets selling a mix of arts, craft, food, drink and Prague memorabilia. The markets are an attraction in their own right and a great place to pick up a more unique memento of the city.
There are several large shopping malls in Prague, you should take "Na Prikope" street - the 18th most expensive street in the world (measured by the price of property), with famous shopping arcades "Cerna ruze" (Black rose) and "Palac Myslbek" and many shops. If you are looking for souvenir shops, you will find them in the city's historical centre - mostly around Old Town Square, Wenceslas Square and Prague Castle. There are many other shops offering Bohemian crystal - especially in the centre near the lower end of Wenceslas Square.
The other typical (if rather expensive) Czech goods is the garnet jewellery - typical Czech garnet stones (gathered near the town of Turnov) are dark red and nowadays are produced by a single company - Granat Turnov - and if you buy genuine traditional Czech garnet, you should get a certificate of authenticity. "Pařížská" street goes from Old Town Square towards the river - and includes some of the most luxurious (and expensive) boutiques in Prague.
Popular shopping malls
- Palladium, nám. Republiky 1, . situated directly in the city centre, it's the newest and perhaps most luxurious shopping mall. No cheap options to eat, unless you buy some food in Albert supermarket on the lowest floor (-2). On the top level (+2) are some moderate to expensive restaurants. Tram/metro station Namesti Republiky.
- OC Chodov, Roztylská 2321/19, . a huge shopping mall with hypermarket located slightly further away from the centre at metro station Chodov.
- Šestka, Fajtlova 1. new shopping mall just 1 station from the Prague Airport. Very far away from the centre but ideal for last minute shopping before your departure. Take bus 191 from Petřiny metro station.
- Atrium Flora (Palác Flora), Vinohradská 2828/151. medium-sized shopping mall with IMAX cinema in the top floor. Tram/metro station Flora.
- OC Nový Smíchov, Plzeňská 8. big shopping mall with 2-floor Tesco hypermarket, a cinema, a number fast food restaurants on the top floor and very close to metro/tram station Anděl.
- Metropole Zličín, Řevnická 1. medium-sized mall with a cinema, hypermarket Interspar, fast foods, huge parking lot and near the metro/bus station Zličín. If you are hungry after your flight, take a bus 100 from the airport to Zličín and then just walk few metres to this mall and buy something to eat.
The official currency of the Czech Republic is the Czech Crown (koruna), abbreviated as Kč, with the international abbreviation CZK.
The current exchange rate can be found at the official website of the Czech National Bank
Sometimes it is also possible to pay with euros (Hotels in the centre of Prague, McDonalds, KFC, Marks & Spencer - also accepts British pounds, Albert and Billa supermarkets, etc.), but the exchange rate may be slightly unfavourable and change is almost always given only in Kč. Dm-drogerie markt (cosmetics and health food) and New Yorker (clothing) stores accept euros at good rates, while souvenir stores take both euros and US dollars at poor rates.
In Prague, especially around tourist sights, there are plenty of exchange offices with very bad rates and misleading advertisements. Banks such as Česká spořitelna have acceptable rates but charge a commission. Best rates are found around Main Railway Station (Hlavní nádraží) - exit the station, left across the park, to street "Politických vězňů". There are about 5 offices, mostly Arab-owned, and offer very good rates even for smaller amounts, and even better or negotiable for higher (over 1000 EUR, USD or such). Make sure you do not exchange money with strangers offering good rates on the street. You are likely to end up with a different currency, such as Hungarian forint, and no way of getting your money back.
Lunch is traditionally the main meal in Prague. Czech cuisine is typically based around pork or beef with starchy side dishes such as dumplings, potatoes, or fries. Fish is not as popular, though these days it is widely available. Popular Czech desserts include fruit dumplings (ovocné knedlíky), crêpes or ice cream. Trdelník has also become popular in Prague in recent years, especially among tourists, with many small bakeries selling the sweet bread encrusted with sugar and chopped walnuts. Most restaurants become very crowded during lunch and dinner, so consider making a reservation or eating earlier than the locals.
The tip should be about 10 to 15% - in cheaper restaurants or pubs you can get away with rounding up the note or leaving a few extra coins. Otherwise it's customary to leave at least 20-40 Kč or €1-2. Taxes are always included in the price by law. Many restaurants in heavily-touristed areas (along the river, or with views near the castle) will charge a cover or "kovert" in addition to your meal charge. If this is printed in the menu, you have no recourse. But a restaurant will often add this charge to your bill in a less up-front manner, sometimes after printing in the menu that there is no cover. Anything brought to your table will have a charge associated with it (bread, ketchup, etc.) If you are presented with a hand-scrawled bill at the end of the meal, it is suggested that you take a moment to clarify the charges with your server. This sort of questioning will usually shame the server into removing anything that was incorrectly added. It should be noted that some waiters might be impolite especially to people from the eastern part of Europe. Pay no attention to this, and simply find another restaurant.
If you're on the look out for fast food, you won't be able to move without tripping over street vendors serving Czech style hot dogs and mulled wine in the Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square in New Town. If you're after Western-style fast food, the major chains also have a large presence in Wenceslas Square and the area immediately around it. Most beer halls also serve light snacks or meals. Definitely try the hot dogs (párek v rohlíku) - they're very different to the version you get in the West. Small, hollowed-out French baguettes are used for the bread, filled with mustard and ketchup, and then the frankfurter is inserted afterwards. This turns the bread into a convenient carry-case and means you don't get ketchup all over your hands. Make sure you get mustard, even if you don't normally like it - unfortunately the hot dogs are somewhat flavorless and need that extra bit of kick. Prices range from around 15 Kč for a small one to 45 Kč for the terrifying-looking 'gigant'. Note that size of hot dog relates to girth rather than length. Try the trdelnik, a traditional tube-shaped pastry, which can be found at street vendors in Old Town for 50 Kč.
Coffe & Drink
Pubs (in Czech "hospoda") abound throughout Prague, and indeed are an important part of local culture. The exact brand of beer usually vary from pub to pub, and recommendations are difficult to give as natives are usually willing to argue at lengths about their preferences. The most internationally recognized beers are Pilsner Urquell (Plzeňský Prazdroj) and Budweiser Budvar (Budějovický Budvar). There are other brands famous among Czechs like Gambrinus. If you are looking for a beer brewed in Prague, go for Staropramen. Usual prices for a half-liter glass are between 20 and 35 Kč, based on the brand and locality, while certain restaurants at tourist areas like the Old Town Square are known to charge more than 100 Kč for a euro-sized glass. There's also a booming craft beer scene with many brewpubs in the city. Check this list[www].
In Prague it is customary, especially at beer halls, to sit with a group of people if there are no free tables, so go ahead and ask if you can join. Prague has also many excellent tearooms (in Czech čajovna) which serve different kinds of teas from around the world.
Save your money and find the bars yourself - you might be surprised at the discoveries you make away from the tourist circus.
Sights & Landmarks
- Prague Castle. This, the biggest ancient castle in the world according to Guinness World Records, rises like a dream above the city offering beautiful views of the areas below. Also on site is the St. Vitus Cathedral with its lookout tower, the Castle Picture Gallery, several palaces and museums and the beautiful Royal Garden, among others. You can also watch the Presidential Guard, and the changeover of the guards on duty on the hour. A Prague castle ticket is 350 Kč and an audio guide costs a further 350 Kč.
- Charles Bridge. Connects Old Town with Lesser Town. Its construction started in the 14th century and it is one of Prague's most beautiful structures. During the day, it is a bustling place of trade and entertainment, as musicians busk and artists sell their paintings and jewelry.
- Old Town (Staré město); Prague's historic centre includes numerous historic buildings and monuments, most notably the famed Astronomical Clock (Orloj), the pure Gothic Týn Church, the mural-covered Storch building, and the Jan Hus monument. Nearby, the Estate Theatre is a neoclassical theatre where Mozart's opera Don Giovanni was first performed. Old Town features many historical churches (St. James Church, Church of Our Lady before Týn among others) and some other interesting historical buildings like the Old Town Hall.
- Josefov; this historic Jewish ghetto is interesting for its well preserved synagogues. The Old New Synagogue (Czech: Staronová synagoga) is Europe's oldest active synagogue and it is rumoured to be the resting place of the famed Prague Golem. Another interesting synagogue is the Spanish Synagogue, a highly ornamental building of Moorish style. Other attractions include the Old Jewish Cemetery, which is the oldest in Europe, and Kafka's house. The Old New Synagogue is not a part of the Jewish museum, so if you wish to see everything, it is recommended that you buy a combined pass to all of the Jewish attractions [www] for 480 Kč.
- New Town (Nové město); New Town was established as an extension of Old Town in the 14th century, though much of the area has now been reconstructed. The main attraction here is Wenceslas Square, a rectangular commercial square with many stalls, shops and restaurants. At the top of the square is the National Museum which is well worth a look (see below). Midway down this historic boulevard, one finds trendy discos and Art Nouveau hotels, as well as quaint parks and arcades, while just off the beaten path are some wonderful panoramic views (Henry Tower), romantic restaurants and the dazzling, Disney-colored Jubilee Synagogue.
- Lesser Town (Malá strana); Across the Vltava River from the city centre and leading to the castle, this quarter also offers beautiful streets and churches (of which St. Nicholas Church is the most renowned). The Lennon Wall, which used to be a source of irritation to the communist regime, is also found here, near a Venetian-like canal with water wheel and close to the Charles Bridge. On 17 November 2014, the Lennon Wall was vandalised by a group of art students and painted over in white.
- Czech National Gallery (Národní galerie). Its most important collections are in the Sternberg Palace (up to the Baroque), St George Convent (Czech Baroque and Mannerism) and Veletržní Palace. The first two are located near and in the castle respectively. Do not confuse them with the Castle Picture Gallery (see above) which is worth visiting on its own right.
- Veletržní Palace, Dukelských hrdinů 47, Praha 7 - Holešovice. 19th century and modern art.
- Convent of St Agnes of Bohemia, U Milosrdných 17, Praha 1.
- Museum of Czech Cubism (House of the Black Madonna), Ovocný trh 19/Celetná 34, Praha 1.
- Czech National Museum (Národní muzeum). An association of various museums. The main building is at the Wenceslas Square and is dedicated to natural history. Other branches include museums of the Czech composers Dvořák and Smetana, Czech Music Museum, Historical Pharmacy Museum, Prince Lobkovicz' Collection at the Prague Castle, Czech Ethnographical Museum and Naprstek Anthropological Museum.
- Prague City Gallery. A museum of modern Czech arts divided between several sites most of which are in the old town. Its main building is the House of the Golden Ring at the Old Town Square featuring 20th century Czech art in a beautiful medieval edifice. 19th century Czech art is exhibited at the Troja Castle.
- Jewish Museum. This covers six separate places (four synagogues, the Old Jewish Cemetery and the Memorial Hall) but does not include the Old-New Synagogue, although entrance tickets can either include or exclude the last named. The Old-New Synagogue is expensive in relation to the museum but in view of its age, it's worth including it. The Memorial Hall is particularly moving with exhibits of the writings of children in death camps.
- Prague City Museum (Muzeum hl. m. Prahy), Na Poříčí 52, Praha 8. Has several branches throughout town. An absolute must-see for the incredibly detailed cardboard model of nineteenth century Prague by Anton Langweil. The detail is amazing, even down to the colour of the doorways and the design of the windowsills.
- There are plenty of smaller museums. Among them are the Museum of Miniatures at the Stahnov Monastery, Toys Museum and Musical Automata Museum at the Prague Castle, Postal Museum, and more touristy Wax Museum , Torture Museum and Beer Museums in the Old Town.
If you are visiting multiple attractions, you may be able to save money by buying a tourist card. Be discerning, as the passes often list as inclusions destinations that are free to visit anyway, and include lesser attractions. Make sure you will save money on the places you want to visit.
- Prague Card. Available for 2, 3 or 4 days. Includes free public transport, airport transfer and a city tour. Free entry to Prague Castle - St.Vitus Cathedral, Royal Palace, Golden Lane, St.George's Basilic; Free entry to Jewish Museum - synagogues and famous Old Jewish Cemetery (6 sites). In total free entry to 50 attractions and discounts on 30+ attractions. Free Guidebook packed with information about the attractions in 7 languages 1.280 Kč, 1.540Kč, 1.780 Kč.
- Welcome Card TVCzechia®. Grants admission to all the Prague Castle short tour, which normally costs 250 Kč. Many of the town's museums and galleries—including all branches of the National Gallery and the National Museum—are also included, and over four days you can easily see 3 times the card's value. As such, this is an excellent choice if you're planning on visiting a lot of museums. The only major attraction that is not included is the Old New Synagogue and Jewish Museum. 990 Kč.
- Prague City Pass. Free entry to various attractions in Prague within a 30 days period, various 25% discounts, sightseeing tours. Prague Castle – Old Royal Palace with Vladislav Hall, St. George‘s Basilica, Golden Lane with Daliborka Tower, St. Vitus Cathedral. The ticket is valid for 2 days from first entry. Jewish Museum in Prague – Maisel Synagogue, Spanish Synagogue, Pinkas Synagogue, Old Jewish Cemetery, Klausen Synagogue, Ceremonial Hall. The ticket is valid for 7 days from first entry. 1390 Kč.
- National Gallery Gift Ticket. If you are an art lover and you are staying in Prague for a longer time, a dárková vstupenka (gift ticket) for National Gallery may save you money. The ticket is valid for a year and is valid in all exhibitions (both permanent and non-permanent) of National Gallery. Number of visits is not limited. A gift ticket for one person costs 650 Kč, for two persons 1000 Kč. For 240 Kč you can have one-person ticket valid for two days in all "Old Art" exhibitions of National Gallery (Šternberk Palace, Schwarzenberg Palace, St. Anežka Convent), basic entry for these three galleries bought separately would cost you. 450 Kč.
Things to do
Take a walk along the Royal Way of Prague.
There are many opera and Black Light Theatre companies in Prague. There are several performance groups that cater to tourists. They aren't strictly to be avoided, but common sense should tell you that the opera advertised by costumed pamphleteers is not going to be up to truly professional standards.
Would you like to try to escape from a room just like in a character in a movie or a video game? You (and your team) are put in a room or a labyrinth of rooms, from where you need to "escape" by finding hidden keys, codes and other clues to get onwards.
- Cryptex Praha, Korenskeho 3, Praha 5. Cryptex Praha is one of the most challenging escape games in Prague. If you want to play, you have to make a reservation in advance on their website and show up on time to play. They offer free game-play for the teams who make it without help and cheating.
- Getaway Prague The real-life escape game, Blanická 9, Praha 2, , e-mail: [email protected]. Getaway Prague is located in the center, 100m from Namesti Miru metro station. The game requires good observation skills, logical thinking and good communication among the players. Booking in advance is required and can be made online or via phone. €40 for couples or €50 for max 5 person.
River cruises are both popular and varied, from one hour cruises to long evening cruises with dinner or music.
- Prague Flights. Offers sightseeing flights by airplane, helicopter or in hot air balloon and tandem skydiving.
- We Bike Prague, Konviktska 7, 11000 (Prague 1), , e-mail:[email protected]. 9AM - 7:30PM. With We Bike Prague team you can easily discover the city of Prague and the area around. Very good quality bike to rent for you self guided trip in the city and multidays trip trough the countryside. We Bike Prague is also specialized in long distance bike trip. Good bikes, panniers and maps can be rented for your cycling holiday in the Czech Republic.
- BIKO Adventures Prague, Vratislavova 58/3, Vysehrad (Praha 2),, e-mail: [email protected]. 9AM-1PM/3PM-7PM. BIKO offers mountain bike, road bike and outdoor activities off the beaten track in Prague and in the Czech Republic. From easy to advanced. High end bike rental: touring bikes, hardtail and full suspension MTB, road bikes, e-MTB.
- Prague tours center, Michalska 12, Prague 1 (Malé náměstí square less than 200 meters), , e-mail:back[email protected]. A free offer for the visitors of Prague: The Prague Tours Centre is offering free connection and charge up of your electric bikes and Segway PT. While connected, the devices are guarded by a supervisor and, in the meantime, you can take walk around Prague, visit a museum or your preferred restaurant. In the Prague Tours Centre the tourists have a possibility of depositing their bikes together with baggage which they do not want to carry or leave in the streets. The Prague Tours Centre also offers facilities for washing your bike or borrowing a complete bike repair kit for free.
- Running Tours Prague (Running Tours Prague). available 24/7. Activity for those into running who want to explore the city and stay fit. It shows runners of ALL abilities around the city's musts while on the run. A traveling runner introduces the best of the Prague to their running shoes and feels just like a local runner. It usually takes 50–120 mins and 7–13k. Your running in Prague is 100 percent customizable as to date, time, pace and distance. from USD15.
Festivals and events
Things to know
Czech is the official language of Prague and the Czech Republic. Simple words and phrases in other Slavic languages (for example Serbian/Croatian/Bosnian, Bulgarian and Polish) are also commonly understood. Slovak and Czech are very similar and mutually intelligible.
Most young people speak English very well, you will also have no problem speaking English at restaurants and bars. Many restaurants have English menus. Russian is widely understood by people who were attending school before the Velvet Revolution in 1989, but the language is too different from Czech to be understood without study. In addition, some people may dislike using Russian even if they know it because of the Soviet occupation of the Czechoslovakia in 1968 and Communist history in general. Many Czechs also have some knowledge of German. People studying after 1989 and even some older people can speak English. However, learning Czech will surely endear you to the locals.
Safety in Prague
The most common crimes in Prague by far are car theft and pickpocketing: the prevalence of car theft and vandalism pushes up the crime statistics of Prague. But it even if you do not drive any cars, pickpocketing is common in Prague, and some violent crimes do occur in this city. You are seriously warned not to provoke drunken people as it will pose yourself in extreme danger. Overall Prague is a relatively safe city and with normal common sense one should be able to avoid problems; even at night a woman can walk alone. There are no "no go" areas. The only area with a high concentration of homeless is in front of the central station.
Begging occurs at the city's top tourist attractions and in some of the main public transport hubs. Don't carry a wallet or purse in the back pocket of your pants; always keep an eye on your items; don't put all your money in one place; don't show your money or valuable things to anybody. Better safe than sorry so take enough precautions for yourself.
Possession of drugs has been historically a grey area under the Czech jurisdiction. Since early 2010, though, the dubious term "an amount more than small" has been finally transformed into absolute values based on the actual judicial practice and it is no longer an offense to carry less than 15 g of marijuana, 5 patches of LSD, 1 g of cocaine, etc. It is still a criminal offense to possess more than the allowed amount of drugs. Bear in mind that for possession of lesser amount you might be still fined by public authorities as it is an offence (even though not criminal one). Please also note that most bars will expect you to go outside if you intend to smoke a joint.
Be aware of teams of pickpockets that lurk outside metro stations, overcrowded trams, Charles Bridge, Wenceslas Square and the Old Town Square. They usually work in teams of 3-5 and look for lost or distracted tourists. Backpacks are especially interesting to them. Many of those groups use underage children as pickpockets because they are not liable according to Czech criminal law.
Due to the low incidence of violent crime, the threat of pickpockets has been played up as a great problem. However, common sense and basic precautions can keep most people safe from pickpockets. If you have a camera, try not to wear it openly. Always close and secure your backpack and try to keep an eye on it. Be especially careful not to fall asleep in tram or metro. Wear your wallet in a safe place (like inner pocket of your coat), never put it into your rear pocket or any other place where it can be easily stolen.
Be astute on sleeper trains, as bag robberies are on the increase between major stations. Ask for ID from anyone who asks to take your ticket or passport, and lock backpacks to the luggage racks. Keep valuables on you and maintain common sense.
If you enter the metro (usually at night), you may find a team of con artists at the stations, saying that they are metro clerks and, after examining your ticket for some time, that it's invalid so you'll have to pay a fine of 500 Kč (1000 Kč if you argue with them). So if you happen to see them and you're sure that your ticket is valid, tell them to call the police, or call them yourself. Remember that Prague Metro ticket inspectors have to produce their badge (see [www] for badge and ID card specimen) in order to check your ticket and issue a fine; if they don't do this as soon as they approach you then, they are almost certainly fakes.
Be careful with taxi drivers, particularly from the train station. Taxis that are legally registered may still be mafia-run affairs that do their best to overcharge. It is illegal for a taxi driver to refuse you a receipt in Prague, so agree to a price before putting yourself or your luggage in the taxi. The risk of overcharging is greatly overplayed but just take the usual sensible precautions of only using taxi firms affiliated with the station or your hotel, or call a reputable company and wait. Finally, if presented with an incorrect bill from a taxi driver, call the police on your mobile phone: the driver will quickly change his tune. You can of course always ask reception, restaurant, etc., to call taxi on the number you give them.
If you can't afford to haggle with cab drivers, you can always use public mass transit. The network is extensive and can take you almost anywhere in Prague 24 hours every day.
Be careful with money exchanges. Exchange your money in banks or official tourist informations and rather avoid exchange offices. Never deal with a street money-dealer: they offer better rates but frequently try to swindle you by giving you money from another country, such as Russian rubles or old Bulgarian leva.
Most of the exchange offices are fair, but some, especially at the busiest tourist sites, may try to cheat customers with various tricks. One of the them is offering favourable exchange rates, but with fine print below such as if you exchange more than €1000. Another trick is putting a huge board with "we sell" exchange rates to the shop window, which makes an impression of good rates, whereas the actual rate for buying CZK is much more unfavourable.
When the customer finds this out at the counter and wants to cancel the transaction, the money-dealer refuses with an excuse "I have already printed the bill", implying it is too late. The police won't help you, typically referring you to the Czech National Bank, which supervises exchange offices, to file a complaint (which does not help you either).
Credit cards are widely accepted at all supermarkets, hotels and also in most tourist places. As in most countries you can find cards for ATM withdrawals with low or 0% fee and often for payment with Visa or MasterCard exchange rate only (which is same as rate of best exchange offices), there is no need to use exchange offices anymore in 21st century.
Czech law is weak and orders exchange offices only to display the actual rates, which you might find somewhere in the office in small print. Therefore, if you decide to use an exchange office always ask for the actual rate you will pay before making the transaction before releasing any money out of your hand.
If you find yourself in emergency, dial 158 for police, 155 for ambulance or 150 for firefighters. You can also dial 112 for a general emergency call.
If you need medication at weekends or evenings, you can go to Lékárna Palackého, (Tel +420 224 946 982) the 24-hour pharmacy on Palackého 5 in the new town or to Lékárna U Svaté Ludmily, (Tel +420 222 513 396) on Belgická 37 (Metro A station Náměstí Míru).